(First learn Spanish. Then study Chinese.)
In the December 29, 2010, New York Times , Nicholas Kristof recommends Spanish comprehension for all Americans. He concedes that Mandarin is the “it” foreign language in schools right now and indeed, recommends studying it, but Spanish should come first as it is no longer as “foreign” a language in the United States as it once was and will have increased importance as the economic mixing of Central, South, and North America continues.
For an arts student, adding a language not only offers a passage to other cultures but an escape from the sealed envelope of one’s own. Crucial, isn’t it?
The added employment credential is of course, not a trivial benefit in the current climate.